After 15 years of owning and running the Cobar Newsagency seven days a week, Ruth Mullins was happy to hand the business over this week to its new owners, Anni van der Westhuizen and Andre Van Wyk.
Ruth and husband Geoff (along with Ruth’s brother and sister-in-law John and Paula Potter) took over the business in 2005.
They bought out Peter and Carol Abbott (Ruth and John’s mum), who had been running the Newsagency since 1986 after they had purchased the Newsagency from long established Cobar businessmen, the Rankin Bros.
Ruth said while not much has changed in the products they have sold over the past 15 years, the volume of newspaper sales most definitely has decreased.
“The internet and being able to read news online has definitely cut into it,” Ruth said.
“We looked at diversifying into other areas, but at the end of the day a lot of people still want to read a “paper” paper, especially the older generation.”
Ruth said the best part about working at the Cobar Newsagency has been the interactions she’s had with customers.
She reckons she would be a very rich woman today if she had a dollar for every lottery and Lotto customer who asked her “Is this the winning ticket?”.
Ruth said it was a big thrill a couple of years ago when they paid out $200,000 to a local resident who’d won the $5 Jackpot Lottery.
(Carol and Peter had an even bigger payout in their time paying out $666,000 to one lucky local.)
Ruth said they made the decision to sell up a couple of years ago and before Anni and Andre came forward to buy it they were worried the business might have to close.
“Geoff and I hope Cobar people show Anni and Andre the same support they have shown us, without them taking over things weren’t looking very good for the future of the business at all,” Ruth said.
Anni and Andre, who also own and run Anni’s Arts and Crafts, were keen to see the Newsagency stay open.
“We always have travellers coming into the shop asking where’s the Newsagency, so we knew it was needed,” Anni said.